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Thief Of Hearts

review by Zach B.

 

 

Rating: R

Running Time: 99 minutes

Starring: Steven Bauer, Barbara Williams, John Getz

Written and Directed by: Douglas Day Stewart

 

Studio: Paramount

Retail Price: $24.95

Features: None

Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Surround, French Mono, English Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selection (14 Scenes)

Released: April 16th, 2002

 

 

Scott Muller (Steven Bauer) is a a thief in 1980s Los Angeles, targeting the home of Mickey and Ray Davis. So he breaks into their house and makes off with a good deal of goods... but most importantly, something quite priceless: Mickey's diary. Mickey and Ray's marriage appears to be rather strong, but we can tell that Mickey is bored and wants something more out of her life as well as more with her husband. Scott reads her diary, and begins a strange obsession with Mickey. He decides to pursue her, and Mickey gives into Scott because from reading her diary, he knows exactly what she wants. But as they go deeper and deeper, trouble, naturally, starts to brew...

Douglas Day Stewart, who hasn't really been working lately, hit a nice stide back in the early 1980s thanks to the screenplay credits he earned on "The Blue Lagoon" and "An Officer and a Gentleman." It only seemed logical that given the success of those movies, a studio would let him direct his own script, and that's what we get with "Thief Of Hearts." Personally, I think it's a great idea for a movie. But the problem, like many good ideas, "Thief Of Hearts" isn't as well executed as it should be.

It's a little hard to pinpoint where it all goes wrong for me, personally. The movie doesn't feel or look like a mess, it just feels a bit mixed up and jumbled in spots. Almost like that Stewart wasn't quite sure where to go, so some scenes here feel a lot like filler. It also somehow feels a bit stereotypical. The bored wife, the failing marriage and the one guy to mix it all around. Still, despite that, the film is pretty up and down. It works great, then it falls, and then it goes up again. However, toward the end and the climax, I feel it just goes all the way downhill, and I found it a bit annoying. Yet despite the somewhat clunky story, Stewart does deliver interesting supporting characters and sharp dialogue. As far as his directing style, he sets a good pace and nice shots, and sets the dark and sorta eerie atmosphere of the growing darkness and sadness in people rather flawlessly.

This film was produced by the team of (the late) Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, and is truly one of those movies that you'd feel they'd produce back in their hayday. It has a fresh and cool feeling to it with that sense of romance and thrilling moments that audiences love, so this is really their type of movie. As far as the acting goes, it's quite good. I found John Getz to be a bit stiff in a rather predictable role, but Barbara Williams and Steven Bauer are perfectly charismatic and strong, sharing great chemistry trogether. Hey, we even have David Carouso and George Wendt of television fame into smaller and fun roles here that don't add up to so much. Funny how hard each tried but never broke the barrier to get into film (especially David, man, leaving "NYPD Blue" and doing stuff like "Jade" and "Kiss Of Death" pretty much ruined him, but that's a whole other story). Also, we have the music. There's some pure 1980s goodness in the songs used, not to mention the somewhat panned score by Giorgio Moroder, which really fits the film and gives it that cool 1980s feel even more.

Personally, I'm a bit mixed on "Thief Of Hearts." I was entertained, but I found the story to be a bit cumbersome at times. Despite this, the performances are pretty good and really gives a nice 1980s feel with some cool music. It's not a film for everyone, and those who watch it will be disappointed, but when you go in to see it, you do get a feeling that you're not going to get a cinematic masterpiece. Enjoyable for what it is.

 

Presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, "Thief Of Hearts" looks pretty good. It's just a little above average, but for an eighteen year old film, it looks as you'd expect. It hasn't been majorly cleaned up, but it still looks rather solid for what it is. It has a good deal of blotches, belmishes and pieces of dirt. There's a lot of marks on the print as well. The picture does look a bit faded, not to mention incredibly grainy. However, there's a good deal to like. Fleshtones are pretty nice, while colors are well saturated. They don't look underwhelming or bleed off. They give a pretty sleek and slick edge to them. A lot of the scenes in "Thief Of Hearts" are dark and there is truly a somewhat neon-ish and midnight feeling to it, given the night scenes. The transfer does capture these incredibly well, giving off the feeling I believe Douglas Day Stewart intended.

 

The English 5.1 Dolby Digital track really surprised me. There are actually is some great surround use here, especially with the opening break-in. There is actually a great amount of ambiance here... you feel the sense of danger, a sense of creepiness and ultimately the sense of obsession and passion in those key scenes. The wonderful and driven music is really well mixed, while .1 LFE use is actually rather strong. I didn't hear any distorition, popping or hiss in the mix, while dialogue is nice and clear. Also included is a English Dolby surround track, a French mono track, English subtitles and English closed captions.

 

Sadly, nothing is here.

 

"Thief Of Hearts" is a pretty decent flick, but I feel more tweaking in the script, let alone events leading to the climax could have made this a better film. There are no supplements, but the presentation is pretty good. If you're a fan of the film, it's worth picking up. Otherwise, if you have any interest, it's a solid rental.